Are you committed to living a healthy, happy, fit life — but you can’t seem to muster up the momentum that drives you toward your goals?
Sometimes you need to attack your health and fitness goals by vowing to take a step towards those goals every single day. To show you how it’s done, I spoke with Kristin Taliaferro, a Master Certified Life Coach and the creator of the Blitz, a 21-day program that helps people set and reach goals by breaking them into manageable chunks and working on them daily without fail.
HappyFit: What’s the benefit of making an all-out effort towards your goals instead of taking it slow?
Kristin Taliaferro: It keeps you very focused. I think people have a lot of distractions today. When you have a single purpose and decide, “I’m going to develop a fitness plan and work out every day for the next 30 days,” or “I’m going to work on my book every single day for the next 30 days,” it gives you one main thing to remember, rather than having to juggle 20 things to remember each day — which is too much for most people to handle.
HappyFit: Are there any times when you don’t want to blitz a goal, especially if it’s a health-related goal — or is blitzing good for everything?
Kristin Taliaferro: That’s a really good question. I would say the challenge that a lot of people have when it comes to a blitz is that they think, “Do I have to do the same thing every single day?” If it’s fitness-related, for example, they think, “Do I need to get up and walk every day for 21 days?” That seems kind of boring for some people. There’s not enough variety.
In that case, you’d want to add in variety and do something related to your goal everyday. It could be something different every day, but the common denominator might be the timeframe…you’d say you’re going to do something fitness related for 20 minutes every day. If you look at it that way, I honestly think you can blitz anything.
HappyFit: What’s the most creative health-related blitz you’ve seen?
Kristin Taliaferro: I try not to get too creative with health. That’s where people get off track. They have too many variables going on. They’re trying to juggle too many things, and then they don’t do any of it. I see that a lot with people with health goals in particular.
HappyFit: Why do blitzes last 21 days?
Kristin Taliaferro: The goal is to be consistent over a 21-day period. The reason I chose 21 days is that it takes three weeks, or 21 days, to form a habit.
HappyFit: What’s a mistake people make when they try to blitz a health goal?
Kristin Taliaferro: They try to make it too hard. They try to go from 0 to 60. They say, “I’m going to work out for an hour every day.” Well, if you haven’t really been working out at all, that’s unrealistic. What’s likely to happen is that you’re going to get to day three or four, and you’re going to fail. Then you’ll feel like you’ve lost your momentum. Instead, what I like people to do is to make it a lot easier then they think it should be. It’s a lot harder then they realize it will be to go for 21 days consistently.
So, for example, I’ll suggest walking for 15 minutes every day, and a lot of people will say, “Gosh, that’s not long enough — what’s that going to do?” Well, it’s a lot if you do it for 21 days. It’s so easy, it’s hard to fail.
HappyFit: Any other tips for a successful blitz?
Kristin Taliaferro: Be specific about when you’re going to do it. Is this something you’re going to get up in the morning and do? Also, have your B plan. If you don’t do it in the morning, when’s the second time of the day when you could do it? For example, it could be during your lunch break.
One woman’s blitz was to go to a yoga class every day. She was used to doing a little bit of yoga before, but she wasn’t consistent with it. Her B plan if she couldn’t make it to a class was to do yoga at home with a DVD. That client went on to get certified as a yoga teacher.
HappyFit: What other good health blitzes have you seen?
Kristin Taliaferro: I had someone last year who wanted to become a runner. She got up every day and she walked and then ran for one minute…the whole first week, it was just one minute of running.
Then, the second week it was walking and then three minutes straight of running. The third week, it was five minutes of running. Each week, she stepped it up and made it a little bit different to keep it challenging. She was surprised that she was able to run for five minutes. This was a very overweight lady who was not used to running at all.
HappyFit: How about a nutrition-related blitz?
Kristin Taliaferro: I had a client who decided to bring a salad for lunch every day instead of eating out and eating junk food. Her switch was to bring, or eat out, a salad every day for 21 days.
It doesn’t feel overwhelming, but in a way it’s a lot harder then you think it will be, because you’ve got to buy all the lettuce. You’ve got to have the ingredients. You’ve got to be prepared. You’ve got to have it organized. That’s why you need to make it easier up front.
HappyFit: What do you do if you fail on one day?
Kristin Taliaferro: It’s human nature for people to have a bad day every once in a while — it happens. The key is to pick up and go the next day and to really notice what exactly happened. Rather than just saying, “Oh, I didn’t do it. I’ll do better tomorrow,” you should explore: What made it hard today? If you can make note of the real obstacles, you can actually remove them.
So, for example, I’ll ask a client, “Why was it hard for you to eat well today?” They’ll reply, “I didn’t have the childcare I needed,” or “I had to work extra hours.” You want to name the obstacle. Be really clear about it. Then, you’ve got to work on it. There’s a lot of removing obstacles during a blitz.
For example, if you know that there’s a direct link between working late and eating poorly, you need to make a decision about whether or not you’re going to continue working late. This is about you making some decisions about your life and saying, “Hey, is it worth it to me to work late?” — or if you just can’t change that, then you need to get extra support on those days. You need to be prepared on those days and decide, “On the days that I work late I know it’s hard for me to eat well, so I’m going to have a meal prepared in the fridge before I leave, or pick up a meal from a healthy restaurant on the way home.”
The problem I see with a lot of people with their heath and fitness goals is that they expect to ride out the hard days without any additional support, and that does not work.
HappyFit: Is there anything else you wanted to let HappyFit readers know?
Kristin Taliaferro: You can create momentum with any goal in a three-week period and you can carry it beyond the blitz. A large part of making any goal happen is getting that initial momentum going.